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City of Rochester

Erie Lackawanna Rails-to-Trails Pedestrian Bridge

The old rail bridge will be converted to a pedestrian trail.About the Project

The City is working to improve and develop new shared use walking and biking trails, especially along the Genesee River.  The abandoned historic Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Bridge over the Genesee River is now a part of that vision, as a Rails-to-Trails pedestrian bridge. 

The bridge was originally constructed in the 1850s to carry the Rochester branch of the Erie Railroad and was enlarged in 1917 as part of the third enlargement of the Erie Canal. The structure showcases standard engineering and construction practices of the day and is considered by New York’s State Historic Preservation Office to be a cultural resource eligible for inclusion in the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The newly renovated Erie-Lackawanna railroad bridge spans the Genesee River approximately 1.5 miles south of downtown Rochester, linking the east and west banks of the Genesee Riverway Trail and establishing a new access point between the University of Rochester River Campus and Southwest Rochester neighborhoods. It is intended to provide a catalyst for new development opportunities along the western bank of the river in the city’s Plymouth Exchange Neighborhood.

Features of the renovated bridge include:  

  • ADA compliant ramp access 
  • Railings on the bridge and approach
  • Replacement of existing timber bridge deck ties with new structural concrete deck
  • Landscaping, including new trees

This project was funded in part by a grant under Title 11 of the New York State Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program of the New York State Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources.

Experience the beauty of the Genesee RiverA view of the bridge from the banks of the river.

Mayor Thomas S. Richards and City Councilmember Elaine Spaull joined University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and residents of Southwest Rochester to celebrate the official opening of the Erie Lackawanna Pedestrian Bridge.

“The Erie Lackawanna Pedestrian Bridge further establishes our commitment to invest in the natural resources that give our city such an incredible quality of life,” said Mayor Richards. “For many decades, Rochester literally turned its back on the Genesee River. With projects like this, we are giving our residents and visitors new opportunities to experience the beauty of this river on a daily basis.”

“The University is proud to partner with the City, neighbors, community leaders and private developers on transformational projects and initiatives to revitalize and redevelop the areas surrounding the University,” said President Seligman. “The completion of this bridge, like the pedestrian bridge before it, is another physical embodiment of our collective efforts to enhance our connection with the city and its neighborhoods. We remain committed to connecting with and contributing to our community, and appreciate the continued collaboration that makes this important work possible. Today, we celebrate the many ways that the University and community are linked – now and for many years to come.”

See photos and video of the official opening at the U of R website!

Have Questions? Looking for more information?

If you have additional questions about the project, contact Ms. Holly Barrett, City Structural Engineer, at (585) 428-6384, or by e-mail.  


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